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Blogger Jessica Marati

Blogger Jessica Marati Dec 5th, 2011 at 10:00AM: Introducing another new blogger at Gadling, Jessica Marati... Where was your photo taken: This photo was taken on my family's beach in the southern part of Guam, the tiny Pacific island territory where I grew up. It's probably one of my favorite places on the face of the earth. Where do you live now: I'm based in New York, but I've spent the last several months living in Phnom Penh, where...

Friendly Planet Travel begins offering authorized travel to Cuba

Friendly Planet Travel begins offering authorized travel to Cuba Oct 31st, 2011 at 11:00AM: After several years, Americans are now able to travel to Cuba again under a new program from the U.S. Treasury Department. The aim of the program is to help Americans interact with locals of Cuba through educational exchanges focused on art, culture, music, and more. As one of a handful of travel operators who have been granted a people-to-people license, Friendly Planet Travel will be...

Encounters in Cuba: Meeting the horse whisperer of Trinidad

Encounters in Cuba: Meeting the horse whisperer of Trinidad Oct 26th, 2011 at 10:00AM: "The map," philosopher Alfred Korzybski famously observed, "is not the territory." His words rarely seemed more apt than in Cuba: a country where the warmth of the people and the beauty of the landscape belie fifty years of bad American press. As U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba loosen up, more and more travelers will fall in love with our island neighbor to the south. They will discover,...

Nova Scotia, Cuban-Celtic-style

Aug 31st, 2011 at 12:00PM: One of the best things about travel is the ongoing chance to have your most basic assumptions overturned by the unexpected realities of a new place. This happened to me a few years ago, when I traveled to Havana to learn salsa dancing, and instead wound up learning how to play the bagpipes. Bagpipes, I discovered, aren't some recent, quirky anomaly in this part of the Caribbean: The...

National Geographic Expeditions announces tour to Cuba

National Geographic Expeditions announces tour to Cuba Aug 31st, 2011 at 9:00AM: Yesterday, National Geographic Expeditions announced an exciting new addition to its already outstanding line-up of adventurous travel itineraries.Thanks to a special license, issued to Nat Geo by the U.S. State Department, the company can now begin offering excursions to Cuba, with the first trip schedule to take place in November of this year. This new ten-day expedition is aptly called Cuba:...

10 countries Americans need advance visas to visit

10 countries Americans need advance visas to visit Aug 17th, 2011 at 12:00PM: We live in an increasingly borderless world and we have access to many countries that were closed (or non-existent) 20 years ago. As reported earlier this week, Americans are especially lucky with access to 169 countries visa free. Still, there are still many countries that Americans need advance visas to visit. Visa applications and processing services can cost several hundreds of dollars and...

Cuba: Nine US cities cleared for charter flights

Cuba: Nine US cities cleared for charter flights Aug 1st, 2011 at 1:30PM: Nine US airports have been approved for charter flights to Cuba, Reuters reported this morning. The Cuban travel agency Havanatur Celimar made the announcement on Friday. The US government forbids commercial flights between the United States and Cuba, so all air travel between the two countries has to proceed on charter planes. The Obama Administration has already removed all restrictions...

Travel to Cuba? Yes, you can.

Travel to Cuba?  Yes, you can. Apr 24th, 2011 at 7:00AM: While restrictions still apply, the long-awaited guidelines defining who can travel freely to Cuba were released and made official this week. Supporters of the changes say more exposure to Americans will lead Cubans cutting the ties with their government. The new rules allow journalists plus religious and educational groups to travel to Cuba pretty much whenever they want to. They also allow...

Obama administration lifts some travel restrictions to Cuba

Obama administration lifts some travel restrictions to Cuba Jan 15th, 2011 at 10:00AM: The Obama administration is going to make travel to Cuba easier than it has been in decades, the BBC reports. Students and religious groups will now be allowed to go to the Caribbean nation, which has not had normal relations with the U.S. since Fidel Castro overthrew the pro-American government in 1959. Specifically, religious groups will be able to sponsor "religious travel" to Cuba, and...

Ten budget-friendly Caribbean destinations

Ten budget-friendly Caribbean destinations Nov 22nd, 2010 at 11:30AM: If you get all your information about the Caribbean from travel magazines, you might find yourself convinced that a night's stay in the region will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $500. The Caribbean's super posh reputation has its roots in the region's tourism history; until relatively recently, tourism in the Caribbean was largely restricted to the very rich. And as one might...

Daily Pampering: Rum flights at Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

Daily Pampering: Rum flights at Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Oct 7th, 2010 at 4:00PM: While the U.S. and Cuba continue to talk through travel options, the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne has found a way to bring a bit of Old Havana to Florida. The dark, sophisticated and sultry RUMBAR in the hotel sets the mood for what could be a steamy night. Thanks to the endless bottles of rum, however, guests won't go thirsty. On the weekends, RUMBAR transforms into Miami's only upscale live...

Havana Good Time: A helpful new Havana travel app

Havana Good Time: A helpful new Havana travel app Aug 19th, 2010 at 10:30AM: Sutro Media has just released a very useful Cuba app for iPhone called Havana Good Time. Created by Havana-based travel journalist Conner Gorry, a Lonely Planet contributor who has lived in Cuba for eight years, Havana Good Time provides essential assistance for visitors interested in navigating the somewhat challenging Cuban capital. All 125-plus entries were researched by Gorry herself....

Travel writer and publisher Q&A: Julie Schwietert

Travel writer and publisher Q&A: Julie Schwietert Jul 9th, 2010 at 1:30PM: Julie Schwietert, known for her work with MatadorNetwork and Collazo Projects, is a writer, editor, and translator whose work bridges the worlds of service travel writing, culture, and politics. Though travel writing is a big piece of her métier, it's not its sum. This profile of Julie is the first in a Gadling series on writers and publishers who have found a way to turn their enthusiasms...

Cuba, China to build new luxury hotel in Havana

Cuba, China to build new luxury hotel in Havana Jun 1st, 2010 at 1:30PM: While the U.S. continues to talk tourism with Cuba, Caribbean developers will break ground on Havana's first luxury hotel later this year, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported. The luxe-hotel is a joint effort between Cuba and China that will cost approximately $117 million (51 percent Chinese capital and 49 percent Cuban). According to reports, the hotel complex will have 650 rooms and...

Next stop: Cuba's Vinales Valley

Next stop: Cuba's Vinales Valley May 28th, 2010 at 9:00AM: Cuba's Viñales Valley is home to the Parque Nacional Viñales, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The area is one of Cuba's top-level tourist attractions. It can be reached by bus from Havana for CUC$12 ($13), a journey that takes between three and three-and-a-half hours. Located in the far western province of Pinar del Rio, Viñales is comprised of a beautiful...

Photo of the Day 5.26.10

Photo of the Day 5.26.10 May 26th, 2010 at 6:00PM: Some jobs are just a little harder than others, but hey - if your job is selling trinkets on a beach, what could be bad? Ok, pushing the trinkets cart probably isn't the highlight of your day, but this photo certainly is! Taken by andreakw in Cuba, this photo is a great reminder of the various ways people make a living, even those in remote islands coveted by U.S. tourists. Come on, you know...

Cuba's Budget-Friendly Accommodation Option: Casas Particulares

Cuba's Budget-Friendly Accommodation Option: Casas Particulares May 25th, 2010 at 2:00PM: Cuba's casas particulares are already old hat for backpackers and other budget-minded types hailing from outside the US. Europeans, Latin Americas, Canadians, and others have been digging the casa particular scene since the 1990s, when the Cuban government began to permit private citizens to rent out rooms in their houses to tourists. Cuba's privately-owned rooms generally cost between...

Photo of the Day (5.18.10)

Photo of the Day (5.18.10) May 18th, 2010 at 8:00PM: I love finding pictures of bicycles that have been loaded to their maximum capacity, like today's Photo of the Day from andreakw. The photo was snapped on the shores of Cuban resort town, Varadero - one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean. Also known as Playa Azul, the town welcomes over 500,000 visitors per year with it's white sand beaches, cays, caves, and water activities. If...

Photo of the Day (04.03.10)

Photo of the Day (04.03.10) Apr 3rd, 2010 at 5:30PM: People watching is an underappreciated travel pastime. In between sampling local delicacies, seeing the sights and taking countless posed photographs in front of funny street signs, we should all take more time to just observe the people who occupy the places we visit. Flickr user penton42 did just that when he spotted this gentleman in Santiago de Cuba. One is left to contemplate if this...

GadlingTV's Travel Talk 007: How to build an Igloo, end of Cuban travel ban?, business model of Somali pirates & more!

GadlingTV's Travel Talk 007: How to build an Igloo, end of Cuban travel ban?, business model of Somali pirates & more! Mar 31st, 2010 at 5:00PM: GadlingTV's Travel Talk, episode 7 – Click above to watch video after the jump Ever wanted to build an igloo? We're savoring the end of the snow season by taking you to the Sierras to show you how! This week we'll also discuss the White House's second attempt to nominate a TSA Director, why Cuba is developing faster than ever, the business model behind the Somali pirate...

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